Rolling Stone Names 100 Top Guitarists Of All Time: Top 3 are Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton & Jimmy Page

Rolling Stone assembled a panel of guitarists and noted music critics to rank the 100 Top Guitarists of All Time. Topping the list are Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Keith Richards and Jeff Beck. Clapton, Page and Beck are all alums of The Yardbirds, one of the key bands that came out of England in the 1960s. Eddie Van Halen – who placed 8th in the list – writes of Clapton (#2), "Eric Clapton is basically the only guitar player who influenced me – even though I don’t sound like him. There was a basic simplicity to his playing, his style, his vibe and his sound. He took a Gibson guitar and plugged it into a Marshall, and that was it. The basics. The blues. His solos were melodic and memorable – and that’s what guitar solos should be, part of the song. I could hum them to you … I could play some of those solos now – they’re permanently imprinted in my brain. That blues-based sound is still the core of modern rock guitar." Rolling Stone’s panel says the three key Clapton tracks that illustrate this are "Crossroads," "White Room," and "Bell Bottom Blues."

Of the other Yardbirds’ guitarists placing in the Top 5, Joe Perry (Aerosmith) says of Jimmy Page (#3), "you can’t look at just his guitar playing on its own. You have to look at what he did with it in the studio and how he used it in the songs he wrote and produced. Jimmy built this incredible catalog of experience on the Yardbirds and doing session work, so when he did the first Led Zeppelin record, he knew exactly what kind of sounds he wanted to get."

Mike Campbell (The Heartbreakers) writes, "Jeff Beck has the combination of brilliant technique with personality. It’s like he’s saying, ‘I’m Jeff Beck. I’m right here. And you can’t ignore me.’ Even in the Yardbirds, he had a tone that was melodic but in-your-face – bright, urgent and edgy, but sweet at the same time. You could tell he was a serious player, and he was going for it. He was not holding back … I saw him last year at a casino in San Diego, and the guitar was the voice. You didn’t miss the singer, because the guitar was so lyrical. There is a spirituality and confidence in him, a commitment to being great. After I saw that show, I went home and started practicing. Maybe that’s what I took from him: If you want to be Jeff Beck, do your homework." Beck ranked #5 in the poll.

The Top 10 in Rolling Stone’s 100 Top Guitarists Of All Time are:
01. Jimi Hendrix
02. Eric Clapton
03. Jimmy Page
04. Keith Richards
05. Jeff Beck
06. B.B. King
07. Chuck Berry
08. Eddie Van Halen
09. Duane Allman
10. Pete Townshend

Rolling Stones’ The 100 Top Guitarists Issue is out Friday 25 November 2011, but you can check out the entire list online at Rolling Stone’s Website now.

Click here to read Eddie Van Halen’s comments on Eric Clapton’s influence. 

Where’s Eric!
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